Hands

I have a Facebook friend, Jan Bang, who lives in Denmark. He’s an elite archer and competes in World Cup events across the globe. I am envious of all the World Cup events where he’s able to shoot. On the other hand I get into some competitive event a few times a month, only on a less grand scale.

Jan at the World Cup in Berlin

One of the primary reasons I wanted to connect with Jan, aside from archery, is for news from Denmark. For decades I was able to spend time in Denmark and Sweden, more so in Sweden. There was a point in my career when I had an opportunity to move to Uppsala, Sweden to live and work. I let that moment pass. Still throughout my career I spent an abundance of time in Scandinavian countries.

I spent a lot of time here in Uppsala

Most of my Viking friends aren’t on Facebook – or I haven’t found them. Through Jan I keep a connection with a part of the globe of which I was extremely fund.

This week Jan re-posted, through Facebook, a photograph taken by Jesse Broadwater. If you are reading this it is likely you are an archer and know of Jesse Broadwater. If you are not an archer, Jesse Broadwater is an elite archer having won a number of World Championships.   The post that Jan circulated was of Jesse’s hand. That caught my eye.

Jesse’s hand

The reason it interested me has to do with form. In particular I have been working on hand placement. Getting my bow in the same position for each shot and having my anchor point the same for each shot are among the critical elements to achieving a good shot.

It seems that a lot of people take pride in their ability to provide free coaching advice. I receive a fair share of free advice. Often times, free advice is worth the price paid. Occasionally, there is good free advice that I considered a free pearl of wisdom. At other times the free advice is over valued.

There are times where a picture is worth a thousand words. Jan’s re-post of Jesse’s picture was on of those times.

When my form is right and I am mentally set I hit the X when shooting paper. In 3D, I can have a perfect shot but if my yardage is off and well such are the ways of 3D archery – that’s a resultant 8 or 5. But, good form and mental focus at a known distance is another matter.

The hand that holds the bow is not to be trifled with. I’ve looked at all sorts of grips and seen some nice grips and some nasty grips. One of the scariest grips is the pistol grip. You’ve seen it – you may even employ it. That’s the grip where the archer has an index finger pointing forward, sort of pointing toward the target. Those archers that use that grip and have short arrows are the ones that make me shake my head. I can only imagine the archer, using a broadhead, the bow in hand with the index finger pointing the way resulting in a sliced digit. Last week on a range I watched a novice getting his free lesson and noted the extended pointer. I mentioned, off to the side to pro bono instructor, that if the novice kept lifting and extending in index finger he was liable to shoot it off. Before the next shot, the instructor suggested the new archer not extend his finger.

But, what got me about Jesse Broadwater’s picture was where his bow sits in his hand. (I’ve seen video of him shooting; he’s not a pointer.) The picture got me considering where my bow sits. Following a practice session or two I remembered the Jesse picture and decided to take a similar photograph of my hand for comparison.

David’s hand. The red line closer to my thumb is from my bow. That lower smaller callous is from bicycle handlebars.